WHILE market pressures have pinned Queensland vacancy rates down during 2022, recent data has revealed the year ended with a slight uplift across the state.
Of the 50 local government areas and sub regions covered in the REIQ’s Residential Vacancy Rate Report for the December 2022 Quarter, 43 experienced a vacancy rate rise compared to the previous quarter, while the remaining seven were static.
The state-wide vacancy rate rose from 0.6 per cent in the September quarter to 0.8 per cent to close the year, at an improved yet still critically low rate.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella welcomed the momentary relief but said vacancy rates were still far too low to be considered ‘healthy’ and it was too early to draw conclusions that there is a material shift in the rental market.
“Promising as this news may seem, we’re taking it with a grain of salt until we see if this is uplift is here to stay or if it’s merely a seasonal fluctuation,” Ms Mercorella said.
“Tiny movements, however hopeful, should not be overanalysed.
What this essentially means is the market is holding tight, and only time will tell if a trend is emerging.
“An influx of rental property changeovers at the end of the year is certainly not a new phenomenon, and the past decade of vacancy rates reveals patterns of generally higher vacancies in December.
“However, the REIQ is hearing from property managers that there is noticeably less exit and entry activity than usual, as there’s still plenty of tenants that are staying put and choosing to renew their lease rather than compete for a new place.
“Even with this small improvement in rates, let’s not forget that we’re still talking about incredibly low vacancy figures which tells us there’s no-where near enough rental properties to meet demand, and tough conditions continue for tenants.”
While upward movements in most areas stayed between 0.1 – 0.3 per cent, Redland’s Bay Islands rose by 1.8 per cent to a considerably weak vacancy rate of 6.0 per cent, and Mount Isa was a standout lifting by 1.1 per cent to 2.4 per cent – teetering on the edge of ‘healthy’.
Other regional areas which saw vacancy rates relax substantially over the quarter were Gladstone (1.6%), Mackay (1.0%), Townsville (1.0%) and neighbouring Burdekin (1.1%), Central Highlands (0.9%), Isaac (1.7%), Lockyer Valley (0.8%), and Maranoa (0.9%). Similarly, tourism areas which welcomed markedly more residential vacancies in the December quarter, were Hervey Bay (1.1%) and Fraser Coast (0.9%). Ms Mercorella said the expectation is that this year will bring more of the same stubbornly tight conditions for the Queensland rental market.